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SoCal Diving

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.


the white whale
May 2, 2004
Hey all

I live in the Seal Beach, California area, and am planning to start freediving the area over the summer. From my internet searches, I believe the closest places to dive are at Crystal Cove and the Laguna Beach area (Shaws cove and Crescent Bay etc.).

I drove down to the area today and saw how crowded Laguna can get, especially on the weekends, however Crystal Cove seems like a very large state beach. Has anyone been to Crystal Cove that can give me pointers - Which entrance is best to use?, which side is best for freediving?, etc. Also if anyone knows if they close the gates at anytime during the day or if they are open year-round, etc.

Crystal Cove is a very nice spot. Unfortunately, they are building a big development across from it, so I think that its time is running out.

When I was vacationing in OC in August, we went to CC about 7 times. We usually enered from the south gate (i.e. as you head out of Laguna, just past the trailer park). There is a point on the left of the cove that is pretty cool. You can get down in the ditches and avoid the currents from the swell. The fish do the same, so you end up very close to the "locals".

Vis was never too good when I was there, but it was adequate. I ran across the occasional seal and even a fellow DB'er.

The other place that I dived in the area is Salt Creek. The terrain isn't nearly as interesting, and there are various hazards, like mad jet-skiers. I've heard that there are some decent fish out past the big kelp patch there, though. I was too scared of the Jet Ski guy to swim out there and verify this.

Another offbeat place to go (fresh-water) is Lake Mission Viejo. You need to know a member of the Lake MV association to get in and the swimming area is limited, but the visibility is amazing and there are lot's of bass, sunfish etc to see. It's also very warm.

Catalina is another nice destination. I think that you can get out and back for about $60? When you get there, head north on the chanel side - a few miles up the coast it starts to get interesting.

La Jolla is a reasonable trip if you want to spend a day. You'll run into tons of friendly spearos, ocean swimmers (including the OceanSwimmer).

Basically, you live in freediving heaven ;).
Yea right now CC is my best bet - good facilities and easy parking for the summer. About how deep is the water there?

And I hope to get to Catalina at least once this summer and rent a kayak to dive off. Catalina is probably the best choice around here but I'm only asking about CC since I'm trying to find a place to frequent during most of the summer.

How can they make a development at Crystal Cove? Isnt it a state park

Thanks for all the info :)
Also, do you need a dive flag at Crystal Cove, any boat traffic?

I've been racking my brain trying to think of how im going to bring my car keys and where to put sandals to cover my socks once im in the water. The easiest thing I can think of is converting an old boogie board I have into a float to carry my stuff and maybe even leave my snorkel on it while I dive. I just think for starting out that the less stuff I have carrying around the better.
Welcome to DB subl and the world of freediving in general.

The development is already built, accross the street. It's sad really, that was the last, large undeveloped stretch of coast from pretty much Ventura to San Diego county. Good thing is, the beaches there may never really be mobbed. You have to pay to park and it's usually quite a haul getting from the parking lot up and down to the beach. You'd be suprised how many people don't want to tackle those steps!

Any of CCSP entrances will put you on some nice beaches and depending on conditions it's good freediving at any of them. Reef Point is where I hang out and where I once met a scruffy Pennsylvania freediver;) whom today I call a friend. As the name implies there are extensive reefs there, parkings a breeze and their are showers and johns close. Once you're down on the beach you're not close to your car so just bring a small bag and maybe a towel down with you and leave it on the beach when you dive. People don't usually steal that kind of stuff right off the sand.

The farther out you go to dive the more you need something to render yourself visible to boats. I spearfish the outer reefs, past the farthest one (the actual Reef Point) that breaks the surface, so I definitely use a torpedo float with a flag attatched. There's too many spoiled rich kids from Newport recklessly piloting boats and jet-skis. But if you stay inside Reef Point or any of the other nearby points there is little danger from boats.

Depth is just relative to how far out you go; 40 feet seems to be the max at the reefs I'm hitting.

Well it's getting late, I better get some shuteye. I'm going spearfishing tommorow... guess where?:D
Thanks so much for all the info!

This deffinitely sounds like the place for me to go this summer. No point in battling all the crowds in Laguna if Crystal Cove is so nice.

We have to meet up there when I get all my stuff and start diving! Two or three of my friends are interested but I'm not sure if they will follow through or how often they want to come with me. I hope you dont mind a little 16 year old tagging along? :p
What kind of fish are you allowed to spear there? Aren't there regulations cuase I thought it was some sort of protected place.

Anyways, hope your having fun out there right now. Tell me what you caught when you get back :)

- Jimmy

I went down to CCSP yesterday as planned, but the surf was too large. Generally speaking when the surf is large, visibility is poor as it was yesterday so I did'nt dive, I just chilled on the beach.

Oh yes, you can hunt there. There are species, size and season restrictions (like just about everywhere). Sheephead, opaleye, various perch, sand & calico bass, an occasional white sea bass have been known to show up.

Go ahead and PM me when you're going to be down there, or just look for me (freedivers and spearos tend to stick out).

Dive Safe.
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